Category Archives: USPEA

FEI World Ranked Para-Dressage Rider Katie Jackson Earns Top Accolades in 2017

Katie Jackson and Royal Dancer. Photo by Susan J Stickle.

Austin, TX – November 13, 2017 – International Para-Dressage athlete Katie Jackson from Austin, Texas has been working hard in 2017 topping Grade V Para-Dressage with scores in the mid 70’s and recently earning her USDF Silver Medal and High Point Award in the Fourth Level Open Division in able-bodied Dressage. Only two years ago Jackson was just out of surgery and barely even walking after she was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of soft tissue cancer. Amputation of her right leg, above her knee, was the only option to make sure all of the cancer was removed from the area. Jackson made a commitment to herself to continue to do the sport she loved and aim for the world stage. With talent, hard work, and a strong support system Jackson and Royal Dancer, now owned by Jackson and her husband Yancy thanks to the generosity of Rachel and Julia Handt, have become a top duo on the Para-Dressage stage. Jackson’s list of accomplishments in two years include earning the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Lloyd Kramer Annual Sportsmanship Trophy, United Stated Dressage Federation (USDF) Grade IV Para Equestrian National Champion Number One Rider of the Year, helping to win four gold medals at each Nation’s Cup for Team USA in Florida and California, Awarded Women’s Sports Foundation 2017 Travel & Training Grant, and currently she is the third ranked FEI World Para-Dressage Grade V athlete. In September, Jackson topped Grade V at the US Equestrian 2017 Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and CPEDI3* in Tryon, NC. In October 2017, Jackson rode at the GAIG/USDF Region 9 Championships, Southwest Dressage Championships and Houston Dressage Society Autumn Classic where she earned her USDF Silver Medal and High Point Award in the 4th Level Open Division. Finishing off the year, Jackson was presented the Grade V 2017 Adequan®/USDF Para-Dressage Grade V Rider of the Year in addition to the All Breeds Para-Dressage Rider of the Year from the Westfalen Horse Association, for her accomplishments with Royal Dancer.

In Summer 2015, Jackson could only imagine where she would be weeks, months, and years down the road. In 2016, she was a brand new Para-Dressage rider and one year amputee competing at her first international Dressage competition. Jackson stated, “It has been an incredible year and I am so thankful to be able to be on this journey.  I have learned so much about myself, my riding, and what it takes to be a top competitor.  It is very rewarding to challenge my body and my mind to see what I can accomplish, especially now, as an amputee.”

Jackson has been a horse woman and athlete since she began riding at six years of age focusing on Dressage. She continued her riding even after graduating from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor in Arts and then from the UCLA School of Dentistry, beginning her dental practice in Austin, TX in 2007. She noted, “Earning my silver medal has been on my bucket list of goals. Even as a little girl I always dreamed about getting to wear the pretty shadbelly coat and riding at the FEI level.  I just never imagined I would be earning it so soon.  Earning this medal now, as a para-equestrian, makes it even more meaningful and special for me.”

Jackson is thankful to all of her support including her husband Yancy. She is also thankful to Austin Prosthetic Center who has helped to tell her story and keep her mobile so Jackson can continue living a life without limits. Jackson added, “I am extremely grateful to Kai Handt of North Texas Equestrian Center as well for believing in me and challenging me to ride at this level.   Kai’s support and coaching have aligned me for these successes and I am very thankful to be able to ride under someone with his knowledge and experience.”

Jackson is now aiming at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina and the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

For more about Jackson’s story, please visit

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

To view an online version of this press release, please visit:

Kristi Wysocki Earns FEI Five Star Para-Dressage Judge Promotion

Thousand Oaks, California – July 8, 2017 – Kristi Wysocki, of the United States, was recently promoted as a Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) 5* Para-Dressage judge. A 5* accreditation is the highest rank given to international judges. Wysocki is the only US FEI 5* Para-Dressage judge joining only a handful of experts in the world with this level of expertise.

Wysocki was first introduced to the Para-Dressage discipline at the 2008 Unites States Equestrian Federation Para-Equestrian Dressage Selection Trials for the 2008 Paralympic Team. Her next exposure to the sport was at the CPEDI3* held at N.E.D.A. Fall Show in 2009. Watching the athletes and horses and speaking with the international panels of judges during these competitions drew her attention to the value of the sport. She recognized the minimal funding the Para-Dressage riders had so in the spring of 2010, Wysocki organized a fundraising event for the U.S. Para-Dressage riders in Loxahatchee, Florida. She also attended the U.S. Para-Dressage training camp for the 2010 World Equestrian Games held in Lexington, Kentucky. Each of these experiences made Wysocki more interested in becoming further actively involved in the sport. In 2011 Wysocki became a FEI 3* Para-Dressage judge. In 2012 she served on the Selection Committee for the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team. She was promoted to an FEI 4* Para-Dressage judge in July 2013 and obtained her Technical Delegate status in the spring of 2014. She has served on the U. S. Equestrian Para-Dressage Committee since the spring of 2011 and currently serves as the chair of that committee. She now sits on the U.S. Equestrian International Disciplines Council as a representative for the Para-Dressage sport.

Wysocki is a lifelong horsewoman in addition to her past career as an engineer. Her engineering background and degree in Metallurgical Engineering has always given her a keen interest in both horse and rider biomechanics. Wysocki noted, “It was not until she became involved in the Para-Dressage branch of Dressage that she really started to see just how much the two can become one, despite many physical hurdles.” Wysocki feels her experience in this division has helped her learn so much more about this most important aspect of riding. She stated, “Para-Dressage has only enhanced my life-long love and bond to the horse. I really feel my experiences in Para-Dressage have made me more aware of the relationship between the two athletes (horse and rider).  I truly believe it has made me not only a worthy Para-Dressage judge but also a much better Dressage judge, trainer and rider than I would have been without.”

Hope Hand, President of the USPEA, noted, “The US is extremely proud of Kristi’s accomplishments and her dedication and commitment to the Para-Dressage Program.”

Wysocki concluded, “I am honored and humbled to be promoted to an FEI 5* Para-Dressage judge.”

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Riders Have Successful Symposium with Para-Dressage Coach Michel Assouline

Assouline speaks to symposium attendees.

Wellington, FL – March 22, 2017 – Team Great Britain Para Equestrian Dressage Coach Michel Assouline flew to Wellington, FL to conduct a Para-Dressage Symposium March 12-14, 2017. The symposium followed the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3*. For United States Para-Dressage riders this was a unique opportunity to work on the new FEI Para-Equestrian Dressage Tests following an international competition. Both Assouline and U.S Para-Dressage Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt worked with each athlete and their home coaches in the Van Kampen Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The focus of the symposium was finding the appropriate competitive horse for each athlete’s Grade and working on what the judges are looking for in the new Tests.

Michel Assouline noted, “I had the pleasure to work with riders and coaches at the Wellington International Equestrian Center, during the USEF Para-Equestrian Symposium. Horses had quality and true potential to progress with the aim to gain consistent marks in competition. It was a question of seeing what they can be rather than what they were, repeating good habits in their training routine which will be more easily replicated in competition. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. Training sessions were fragmented in building blocks to identify blockers in detail, which were then shared with coaches, as attention to detail is everything in any winning culture. A really exciting pool of good rider-horse combinations.”

Para-Dressage rider Katie Jackson took part in the symposium with Assouline. She expressed, “I really enjoyed having the opportunity to learn from Michel Assouline.  The symposium was a fantastic opportunity for all of us to learn from one of the best in our sport.  On the first day Michel shared valuable insight about developing the para-dressage athlete, giving us his perspective on how to grow as individual riders and as a team.  He also spoke on the key areas that have created the success of Team Great Britain, including having a strong foundation for riders, coaches, and their support teams to grow and develop from.  During my rides I appreciated Michel’s attention to detail. I especially liked his patience and focus on correct basics such as straightness and connection to improve the horses’ gaits.  He gave helpful suggestions on how Royal and I can improve as a team and I felt that we made some big improvements over the two days of riding.  A big thank you to USEF/USPEA and our sponsors for making this symposium possible.”

For more information about future U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Symposiums, please contact Laureen Johnson, High Performance Director, Para Equestrian & Vaulting, United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. Email:

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Para-Dressage Returns to Palm Beach for Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3*

Kai Handt and NTEC Royal Dancer, ridden by Katie Jackson. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Wellington, FL – March 9, 2017 – Para-Dressage riders returned to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival for the second international para-equestrian dressage competition in Wellington, Florida. Eleven horse and rider combinations from the United States and Canada will compete over the March 10-12 weekend at Week 9 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* presented by Mane Stream courtesy of Rowan O’Riley, Mission Control, Adequan®, and Nutrena. Athletes from Grade I through Grade V include multiple World Equestrian Games’ riders and Paralympians.

The CPEDI3* kicked off Thursday with the FEI Jog with Ground Jury members Carlos Lopes (POR), Adrienne Pot (USA), and Elke Ebert (GER) viewing each horse as they jogged. Dale Dedrick won the Best Dressed Award presented by Show Chic. Rides begin in The Stadium on Friday with the Team Test, followed by Saturday’s Individual Tests, and ending with the Freestyle on Sunday, March 12, 2017. Competition includes both team and individual divisions. The U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team presented by Deloitte includes Laurietta Oakleaf (Grade II), Annie Peavy (Grade IV), Katie Jackson (Grade V), and Mary Jordan (Grade V). The team is led by Chef d’Equipe and U.S. Para-Dressage Technical Advisor Kai Handt. Equine Canada Team includes Laura Hall and Boo Sinclair (Grade IV), Jody Schloss and Lieutenant Lobin (Grade I) and Robyn Andrews and Fancianna (Grade I) with Chef d’Equipe and Para Canada’s technical director Clive Milkins.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* Commences in Wellington

Ellie Brimmer and London Swing by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Wellington, FL – January 19, 2017 – The winter equestrian show season is in full swing in beautiful Wellington, Florida. At The Stadium at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, Para-Dressage riders are prepping for the 2017 CPEDI3* January 20-22, presented by Mission Control and Mane Stream. Although a small sample of athletes will be competing at the first CPEDI3* of 2017, the list includes riders from both the United States and Canada. The CPEDI3* begins on Friday, January 20, with the Team Test, followed by the Individual Test on Saturday, and the Freestyle on Sunday.  Ground jury members include President Kristi Wysocki (USA), Carlos Lopes (POR), and Anne Prain (FRA).  Friday will not only be the launch of the CPEDI3* but it is also the first time the judges will see these athletes ride the brand new Para-Dressage tests of 2017. It is also the first time these athletes have new Grade names.

In 2017, the five current Grade names changed from Grade Ia, Ib, II, III, and IV to Grade I, II, III, IV, and V. Grade IV rider Ellie Brimmer will be competing over the weekend with her horse London Swing. The duo earned the Omega Alpha Healthy Horse Award during the FEI Horse inspection on Thursday. Brimmer is looking forward to the first international Para-Dressage show of 2017. She noted, “I’m looking forward to getting the opportunity to show in the International Stadium again. This CPEDI is a great opportunity to experience in a big atmosphere venue. My goal for this show is to ride these new tests with good energy and use this as a baseline to see where I need to make improvements. Working with my trainer Shelly Francis, I think my partnership with Louie continues to strengthen and I look forward to seeing what we’re able to accomplish.”

Para-Dressage competition begins at 10 AM in The Stadium at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Introduction to Para-Driving with Scott Monroe, November 18 at Carlisle Academy

Are you a disabled veteran looking for an exciting adaptive sport?

Para-Dressage and Para-Driving are internationally-recognized, elite sports for individuals with permanent, measurable physical disabilities. Carlisle Academy, in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation, was recently awarded an Adaptive Sports Grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs to support growth and participation of disabled veterans in para-equestrian sports. Full tuition support for veterans is available for this camp, as well as federal allowances to support ongoing training. Eligibility requirements apply.

Come learn more about these opportunities for disabled veterans and their coaches at Carlisle Academy.

Introduction to Para-Driving with Scott Monroe
Friday, November 18, 9am – 4pm
Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports in Lyman, Maine

For more info on the Para-Equestrian Training Camp, contact Carlisle Academy Head of School, Sarah Armentrout, at 207-985-0374,, or visit

For eligibility in Para-Equestrian Sports and the Paralympic Military Program, contact Laureen Johnson, Para-Equestrian Director of the United States Equestrian Federation, at or (908) 326-1155.

Carlisle Academy is a recognized PATH Premier Accredited Center and a USEF/USPEA Para-Equestrian Center of Excellence.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

USEF Center of Excellence “Ride On Chatsworth” Hosts Open House

Ride On is a United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and United States Para Equestrian Association (USPEA) recognized Para Equestrian Center of Excellence.  The USEF/USPEA designation of a Para-Equestrian Dressage Center of Excellence is to assure that developing and high performance athletes are referred by USEF and other riding curriculums to facilities that have met the USEF/USPEA standards of being world class facilities.  COEs have the privilege of hosting USEF/USPEA funded Para-Dressage educational programs and clinics to assist in the expansion of quality sport and promote public awareness.

Get Classified – By Appointment, Saturday, November 5 – $40

In Para-Equestrian Dressage, each rider is classified according to his or her functional ability. Para-Equestrians are assessed by trained physiotherapists and doctors (Classifiers), who evaluate either muscle strength, coordination, or a combination thereof throughout the athlete’s body. The athlete is then given a functional profile that indicates the grade in which they can compete (5 Grades). The competition within each grade is judged on the functional skill of the rider and not the level of disability.  Para-Dressage Classifier, Joann Benjamin, will be accepting appointments to classify riders for national competition.

Learn More about Your Personal Path in Para-Dressage – Riding Assessment Clinics 1:00 PM – $75

Are you ready?  Sign up for a riding assessment on our horse or yours with the head of our Para-Dressage program, Megan McQueeney.  Our knowledgeable staff will be on hand to talk with athletes about how they can reach their individual goals.  Athletes, their trainers, and families are invited to meet the staff and horses at Ride On and learn more about the Para-Dressage programs we offer.  We will help you develop a personalized riding/competition plan at our facility or at your facility with your trainer.

About Our Classifier and Clinician

Joann Benjamin, FEI International/National Classifier, serves on the USEF Adaptive Sports Committee and the USEF Para-Equestrian Technical Committee.  Megan McQueeney is a United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Bronze and Silver Medalist, graduate of the USDF “L” program “with Distinction,” a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) Advanced instructor, and the owner of Jasper Ridge Sporthorses.

To be classified or to ride, sign up by October 29th.  If you simply want to drop by between 9:00 AM and Noon to learn more, there is no need to sign up.

Contact:  Megan McQueeney – or 818-523-3960

To view an online version of this press release, please visit:

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Sydney Collier and Western Rose Place 7th in Grade 1B Individual at Rio Paralympics

Sydney Collier and Western Rose – photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – September 14, 2016 – The 2016 Rio Paralympic Equestrian competition continued Wednesday at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center with the Grade 1B division riding their Individual Championship Test for a chance at a medal. The youngest rider in the Rio Equestrian Paralympics, Sydney Collier of Ann Arbor, MI, and Wesley Dunham’s Western Rose improved on their Team Test placing ending up 7th with a 67.665%. Collier commented, “I am so happy and proud of my ride today. I can’t stop smiling. My mare Rosie was a superstar and we had a top 7 finish. Seeing my name up on the jumbotron made me so emotional and I can’t wait to see what amazing things I have coming up in my future. Overall it’s just an honor to be here in Rio competing with the best of the best and representing our country.”

Winning the Gold Medal in Grade Ib was Austria’s Pepo Puch riding Fontainenoir to a score of 75.103%. In Silver Medal position was Great Britain’s individual rider Lee Pearson riding Zion for a score of 74.103%. In the Bronze Medal position was Denmark’s Stinna Kaastrup riding Smarties to a score of 73.897%.

Thursday we have three riders riding for the individual championship – Rebecca Hart up first riding the Grade II test at 9:54 AM. In the Grade IA division we have at Margaret McIntosh at 3:23 PM and Roxanne Trunnell at 4:22 PM.

The 2016 Paralympic Equestrian Games continue at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center.

The Equestrian competition runs through September 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

For more information about the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team, please visit United States Equestrian Federation at, the United States Equestrian Team Foundation at, or Team USA at

For more information about the 2016 Paralympic Equestrian competition, please visit

By: Eleanor R. Brimmer

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

US Paralympic Equestrian Athletes Head to Florida for Mock Competition

Left to Right – Rebecca Hart, Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt, Sydney Collier, Margaret McIntosh, Annie Peavy, and Roxanne Trunnell. Photo courtesy Tina Wentz.

Weirsdale, FL – August 31, 2016 – In preparation for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, the United States Paralympic Equestrian squad has headed to the Grand Oaks Resort and Museum located in Weirsdale, FL for a mock competition. The Team includes Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt; Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Grade Ib, and Wesley Dunham’s Western Rose, a 2003 Oldenburg mare; Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.), Grade II, and her own Schroeters Romani, a 2002 Danish Warmblood mare; Margaret McIntosh (Reading, Pa.), Grade Ia, and her own Rio Rio, a 2006 Rheinland Pfalz-Saar mare; Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn. and Wellington, Fla.), Grade III, and Heather Blitz and Rebecca Reno’s Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding; and competing as an individual, Grade Ia rider Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) and Julia Handt’s 2005 Westphalian gelding Royal Dancer. These five outstanding athletes will showcase their talented horses on September 1, with their Test of Choice, beginning at 10 AM in front of 5* Judge Natalie Lamping.

Following the mock competition, riders and their team of veterinarians, grooms, parents, volunteers, and supporters will prepare to fly to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Paralympics. Equestrian will make their way to the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center where they will compete September 11-16.

For more information about the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team, please visit United States Equestrian Federation at, the United States Equestrian Team Foundation at, or Team USA at

For more information about the 2016 Paralympic Equestrian competition, please visit

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Young Para-Equestrians Excel at 2016 United States Pony Club Qualifying Tetrathlon Rally

Photo: Andie Sue.

Livermore, Calif. – August 26, 2016 – Equestrians Andie Sue and Kaysie Li Roth from the Middle California Region in the Irons Pony Club in Livermore, Calif. excelled at the 2016 United States Pony Club Qualifying Tetrathlon Rally June 17-19, at the Graham Hill Showgrounds in Santa Cruz, Calif.  Andie Sue, born in Guangzhou, China, and adopted at 15 months old, had her leg amputated below the knee due to birth defects at two years of age, she is now 11. Kaysie Li was born in Suzhou, China, and adopted at nearly 6 years old; she is now 9. Kaysie Li had her left leg amputated below the knee. Both girls competed over the Rally weekend finishing with top results. The Tetrathlon Rally includes multiple phases of running, swimming, jumping, and shooting.

Andie Sue and horse Tam O’Shanter (Indiana Hoolihan x Moonrise Kee Ranchera), owned by Karen Davison and Sally Coleman, competed in the Pre-Novice group even though she is actually a 10U.  She achieved a perfect ride score of 1100 and earned a third place in the swim section for a final place of second overall for her age group. The Pre-Novice division is for 13 years and under and the rider must be a D-1 or above.  The four sections include a run, swim, jump, and shooting. The length of the run shall be 500 meters. The length of the swim shall be 50 yards/meters. The jumping height will be 2’3″ maximum. The shooting is 20 shots. Competitors must be standing and may shoot with two hands. Andie Sue joined Pony Club as an eight year old in 2013.  She has earned her D1, D2 and D3 traditional (Flat, cross country and show jumping) certifications and is studying to take her C1 traditional in October.  She also has earned her D1, D2 and D3 certifications in Western.

Kaysie Li rode Glitter Shadow (Townsend Triton X Fanny), owned by Karen Davison, in the 10 years and under age group. For this group the rider must be a D-1 or above. Kaysie Li has earned her D1 rating in English and Western and took her D2 test for Dressage in July. In the four phases Kaysie Li completed her first ever 50 yard swim, earned 3rd place in the ride phase and came in 4th place in her age group in the personal horse management inspection. The phases include a run of 500 meters, a swim of 50 yards, jumping height of 18 inches, and shooting 10 shots.

This rally followed the Pony Club rules and guidelines including no assistance during the rally. Their mom Barbara Roth noted, “The kids come away with such a sense of accomplishment knowing that they understand the right steps to take care of their own mount.”

Kaysie Li noted, “Last year I needed so much help. I couldn’t bridle or saddle or do anything. This year I was able to do all those things by myself.”

Both girls have come a long way in their riding. Barbara Roth explained, “Andie Sue started riding when she was 3 but she started riding independently at 5.  She had been amputated at 2.  After I could see that she was interested in riding I took her and her saddle with a saddle tree up to Shriners at Sacramento and asked her prosthetist to measure angles and fit until we came up with a riding prosthetic that would work for her.  Andie Sue was the one who figured out how to make the ankle work for her and her awesome prosthetist built it. Kaysie Li was adopted at 6 and had never seen an animal before.  The first time she saw our horses she was pretty surprised that we actually wanted her to get on that beast. She watched her sister for a while and we didn’t push it.  She had several surgeries so her riding was not consistent at first but she really liked it and I could see that everything about her changed when she was in the saddle.  She was confident and was building muscle and strength.  She literally felt like mush when we adopted her, no muscle tone at all, and now she is competently riding a 1000 pound horse in the show ring and smiling from ear to ear.”

Both girls will continue to train through the fall and compete at several shows. Andie Sue hopes to be eventing at the Novice level soon and Kaysie Li would like to compete in her first Dressage shows in the coming years.

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

To view an online version of this press release, please visit:

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.